Due to Hurricane Harvey, the Pecan Grove MUD Board moved its regular meeting from the last Tuesday of August to Friday September 8, 2017, at the Pecan Grove Baptist Church. The meeting focused on the flooding that occurred in Pecan Grove MUD as the result of the unprecedented 44+” of rain that fell in a 72 hour timeframe and the remedial measures taken by the District during Hurricane Harvey. These rainfall totals surpassed all previous records for the contiguous United States. The Board is asking its consultants and other experts to help determine whether the MUD’s facilities operated as anticipated and if other improvements should be made to improve the capabilities of the facilities.
The Board opened the meeting to receive public comments and Bob Jones, founder of the District’s engineering consultant firm, Jones & Carter, Inc, presented Jones & Carter Inc.’s preliminary observations and opinions regarding the flooding and the District’s facilities. Mr. Jones discussed how the 3 new detention ponds worked as intended for the first 2 ½ days by providing out of District storage space for the flood water to gravity flow to the outside of the levee through culverts that pass under the levee. Based on preliminary data from Jones & Carter, it appears the Plantation Sections 4 and 5 detention pond (“Pond 4/5”) would have continued to function as anticipated if not for the over flow of flood water from either or both Bullhead Bayou and Oyster Creek. The Board and Mr. Jones answered questions and received comments from the public for a couple of hours.
During Hurricane Harvey on late Sunday night August 27, your MUD operating company, EDP, began measures to obtain special inflatable plugs to stop the flow of flood water into Pond 4/5 from Bullhead Bayou and/or Oyster Creek. These plugs had to be located, installed and inflated into three pipes in the Pond 4/ 5 detention pond. Installation of these plugs could only be accomplished by certified divers. Despite valiant efforts and many calls to Fort Bend County OEM and the City of Richmond Fire Department Emergency Dive Team, locating available certified divers took until Tuesday. Much of the Greater Houston Area had impassable roads and it took time to gather the plugs, and for the dive team to make their way to Pecan Grove. The first two plugs were installed that afternoon, with the smallest of the 3 pipes being installed by Wednesday morning. EDP reported these efforts stopped the over flow waters from Bullhead Bayou and Oyster Creek from entering the District.
Unfortunately, there appear to be about 40 to 50 houses that had some level of flood waters in them. Not all of these houses are in the area near the intersection of Plantation and Bittersweet Drives. We are preparing maps showing the locations of any home that took on flood water, including amounts, to help us investigate where flooding occurred. If your home had flood water and you have not previously reported it, please go to our website www.pecangrovemud.com or call EDP at 281-238-5000.
The Board met in executive session after the public comments portion of the abbreviated meeting on Friday, September 8, and, after reconvening in open session, voted to look for outside, third party expert advice. The Board decided to interview several engineering firms to determine their qualifications to assist the Board in investigating the causes of the flooding, the performance of the District’s drainage system, and possible improvements to same, if warranted. Because these engineering firms may act as experts for the District in any potential or threatened litigation, the Board will conduct the interviews with their attorney present in executive session. No action can be taken in executive session; all votes to hire an expert consultant will take place in open session.
The Board expects its information gathering efforts to take a little bit of time. It is important to get accurate information and do careful study. We are only at the beginning of the fact gathering stage. This is a priority for the Board and we will get answers and solutions as quickly as we can.
Also at the Friday September 8 abbreviated meeting, there were questions about the pickup of debris removed from flooded houses. Director Ryan Yokubaitis is the Board’s garbage liaison and he has been working with WCA, our garbage contractor, for special debris removal. The MUD contracted before the storm with Fort Bend County for debris removal, but the County has been unable to schedule its contractor to pick up in our area. Therefore, Director Yokubaitis worked with WCA for this heavy debris removal. After some failed efforts of WCA to procure the special trucks, WCA managed to pick up some storm debris in Pecan Grove and committed to us they would continue pick up daily until all debris already placed outside was collected.
The Board will post updates as additional information is gathered.